Some players of the PBA 3-on-3 women’s basketball tournament admitted that they are forced to comply with the league’s rules, for the sake of having exposure or getting an opportunity to play in a professional-level league.
Word has reached Tiebreaker Times that participants of the on-going tournament – the second conference since the league introduced 3-on-3 women’s hoops during the 2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup – received a memo from the league earlier this month which states that the league will adopt more rules in the third conference.
A player who requested anonymity disclosed that, per the memo, players will not be allowed to have boy cut hairdos. Moreover, the league will also impose a limit of two former/current national team members per PBA women’s squad.
“I guess it is a bit, competition will not be as high as it would be because there are a lot of players, with respect to their (chosen) gender, who prefer boy cuts,” the player said. “And it would prevent them from playing, which is of course, sayang if lalo na they are very talented and they are not going to be able to join competitions because of their appearance.”
The same player, who also thinks wearing shorts relatively shorter to that of the men’s game is already uncomfortable, rues such rules are divisive because the PBA supposedly opened its doors for women’s basketball players to join, but players are left with many requirements before being able to play in such competition.
The rule discouraging boy cuts, the player added, seems to dictate what the league wants its players to look like, which is based on the ideal image of a woman.
“We have to (take a page) from the biggest women’s competition which is the WNBA. In the WNBA, there is no rule preventing boy cuts or girls who prefer long shorts. I think if you want competition to be as global as WNBA, then you should not discriminate.”
When it comes to the games’ time slot, the player thinks their tournament is a mere side event to the men’s game, reiterating the need for a full-blown 5-on-5 league of their own.
“Ideally, in a different world, we would want to have our own league. A legit WPBA that people would watch, that’s what we want to happen. For now, not that we are settling for less, but this is the biggest commercial league we can join, so we appreciate everything. But of course, in a different world, we want our own league with the same benefits,” she said.
Women’s games are played every Wednesday and Friday, in between the first and second game of a PBA double-header. In the semi-finals, the women’s games are played either before the men’s game or during the halftime break.
Another player shared that although she is a bit shocked with of some of the rules at first, she understands the PBA 3-on-3 women’s basketball tournament is one of the very few post-college opportunities for athletes in the country.
“At first, na-shock kami na may ganoong rule. Pero naiintindihan namin na gusto nila ma-promote as women’s basketball. Pero parang, for me, okay lang yun kasi bebenta yung women’s basketball kung ganoon,” the player said.
“Siyempre, yung iba, affected. Maraming players na magagaling pero (gusto nilang) ganoon yung appearance nila. Pero, kung yun ang gusto (ng liga) i-implement, siguro okay lang sakin, as long as ibigay lang din nila yung needs namin. For instance, may sweldo,” the player added.
The same player said she would rather comply with the rules than to not get a chance to play at the professional level, even if it would also mean funding themselves as the tournament does not give players much compensation.
But at the same time, the player hopes in the next tournaments to come, the league starts to give more benefits to the players for them to maintain interest in joining the league. In a span of less than a month, the PBA 3-on-3 women’s basketball tournament has seen three games won by default.
“We are playing basketball lang because we love the sport. Pero we need to satisfy ourselves. Maski allowance man lang or food after the game. Kasi minsan, yung biyahe mo parang mas matagal pa, tapos laro mo ten minutes lang. Sayang sa energy pero yun nga, dahil you love to play the sport, so mag-e-effort ka na lang din,” she said.
“Kumbaga, stepping stone pa lang naman to kaya pagbibigyan mo muna before kung next conferences, ganoon pa rin, parang hindi ka na rin mag-e-effort, diba. Kasi sayang yung pagpunta mo.”